By Angie Mayes
Special to Mt. Juliet News
Wilson County Director of Schools Donna Wright’s annual evaluation was presented to Wilson County Board of Education last week at its January meeting.
The school board members were the participants in the evaluation. They heard comments from the principals and assistant principals within the district, per Wright’s suggestion.
There were four surveys within the evaluation and multiple questions within each survey. The total of all answers was 100 percent per question, and each board member represented 14 percent. For each question, respondents were asked to respond as to whether they strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, strongly disagree or did not observe.
The first survey was about mission and vision. That is how Wright “promoted the success of all students by facilitating the development, articulation, implementation and stewardship of a vision of learning that is shared and supported by the school community,” according to the evaluation.
There were six topics under the heading. The first was “establishes and communicates a clear vision for school improvement.” Seventy-two percent of the board said it strongly agreed, while 14 percent agreed and 14 percent were neutral.
Under the heading “in collaboration with others, uses appropriate data to establish rigorous, concrete goals in the context of student achievement and instructional programs,” 58 percent strongly agreed, while 28 percent agreed and 14 percent disagreed.
The next category was “uses research and/or best practices for improving the education program.” Fifty-eight percent voted they strongly agreed, 28 percent agreed and 14 percent were neutral.
The fourth category was “articulates and promotes high expectations for teaching and learning.” In that category, 72 percent strongly agreed, 14 percent agreed and 14 percent disagreed.
The next statement they were to respond to was, “aligns and implements the educational programs, plans, actions and resources within the district’s vision and goals.” In that area, 43 percent strongly agreed, 43 percent agreed and 14 percent disagreed.
The final category under this survey was “provides leadership for major initiatives and change efforts.” In that category, 58 percent strongly agreed, 28 percent agreed and 14 percent disagreed.
The next survey was instructional leadership. That is “to provide all students with the opportunity to attain increasing levels of individual achievement that [prepares] them for success.”
There were eight statements, or categories, under the survey.
The first was “recommends to the board, for its adoption, all courses of study, curriculum guides and major changes in tests and time schedule to be used in the schools.” Forty-three percent strongly agreed and 43 percent agreed with the statement. Fourteen percent disagreed.
The second category, “oversees the timely revision of all curriculum guides and courses of study.” In that category, 43 percent strongly agreed, 43 percent agreed and 14 percent were neutral. The third category, “develops guidelines and direction for monitoring the effectiveness of existing and new programs.” Fifty-seven percent strongly agreed, 29 percent agreed and 14 percent disagreed.
The fourth category, “keeps board informed regarding developments in other districts or at state and national levels that would be helpful to the district.” Seventy-two percent agreed while 14 percent agreed and 14 percent disagreed. The next statement was, “provides a laser-like focus toward identifying and meeting system-wide goals.” Fifty-seven percent agreed, 29 percent agreed and 14 percent disagreed.
The sixth statement was, “recruits employees and trains such personnel as may be necessary for increased student achievement.” Twenty-nine percent strongly agreed, 57 percent agree and 14 percent disagreed.
In the next category, “holds meetings of administrators, teachers and other employees as necessary for the discussion of matters concerned increased student success,” 57 percent strongly agreed, 29 percent agreed and 14 percent were neutral.
The final statement in the survey was, “prepares and recommends short- and long-range plans for board approval.” Forty-three percent strongly agreed, 43 percent agreed and 14 percent disagreed.
In the community-public relations” category, which was “[building] effective partnerships with all stakeholders,” there were five categories.
The first was, “promotes community and parental support of the schools. Interprets district programs, services, reports, etc.” Fifty-seven percent strongly agreed, 14 percent agreed, 14 percent disagreed and 14 percent did not observe.”
The next was, “identified available community resources.” Forty-three percent strongly agreed, 43 percent agreed, and 14 percent disagreed. Following that category was, “maintains contact and good relations with the local media.” Seventy-two percent strongly agreed, 14 percent agreed and 14 percent were neutral.
The next statement was, “communicates well with the Board of Education.” Fifty-seven percent strongly agreed, 29 percent agreed and 14 percent strongly disagreed. The final statement was, “ensures that district interests are represented in meetings and activities of city, county and other governmental agencies. Seventy-two percent strongly agreed, 14 percent agreed and 14 percent disagreed.
In the financial management” area, which was “to monitor and adjust [the] district budget to ensure solvency and optimum benefit for funding sources,” there were four categories.
The first was, “provides direction to and supervision of school business functions.” Fifty-seven percent said they strongly agreed, 29 percent agreed and 14 percent were neutral. The second statement was, “encourages development and strong implementation of sound business practices and assess those practices to achieve efficiency.” Fifty-seven percent said they strongly agreed, 29 percent agreed and 14 percent disagreed.
The third category was, “annually prepares budget for board’s approval, and subsequently presents the approved budget to the appropriate committees and county commission for adoption.” Fifty-seven percent said they strongly agreed, 29 percent agreed and 14 percent disagreed.
The final category was, “ensures that funds are spent prudently by providing adequate control and accounting of the district’s financial and physical resources.” Fifty-seven percent said they strongly agreed, 14 percent agreed and 14 percent disagreed. Fourteen percent did not observe that action.
The participants were allowed to make comments. They were anonymous.
“This past year have proven our Director of Schools Dr. Donna Wright continues to navigate the growth of our county in experience, protecting the strength and integrity of the system as a whole,” said one board member. “She has proven to be a leader in all facets from the [board of education] to the students.”
A second board member said she “communicates well with some of the board.”
Another comment was, “Dr. Wright is a pleasure to work with. She promptly answers questions and follows up to ensure understanding.”
“Dr. Wright continues to move our school system forward academically by focusing on student learning and positive outcomes,” a fourth board member said. “She provides superior leadership while continuing to meet the needs and challenges of our school district during a time of unprecedented growth.”
“I think Dr. Wright is doing an outstanding job,” another board member said. “She is extremely supportive of our employees, and she truly cares about the people we serve.”
The last comment said, “One of Dr. Wright’s strengths is her vision of success and high expectations to achieve them. Most of the highly motivated administrators and teacher work well with these expectations. After interacting at some statewide, I am even more thankful to have Dr. Wright leading our county and am thankful for the team she has assembled.”